"On the plains of Oklahoma, with a windshield sunset in your eyes like a watercolor painted sky, you'd think heavens doors have opened."
Fly Over States

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Wintertime and the Weather is Wonderful

In Oklahoma, the turning of the year can take place in the midst of a devastating ice storm or, as we've had this year, sunny, balmy weather in the 60's and even 70's. 

Blue skies, day in and day out, with enough sunlight at dusk and dawn to make it seem like the days aren't quite as short as they really are.  With cloud cover, it seems like the morning doesn't arrive until nearly 8:00 in the morning - and a dreary morning at that.  But with bright sunshine, the dawn is like a child's laughter, waking you with a smile and bones that feel just a bit younger than you have a right to expect.

December and January are dry seasons in Oklahoma but, fortunately, we had enough rain in the fall to make up for much of the severe drought the state experienced in 2010/2011.  I heard on the gardening channel, yesterday, that a healthy, established tree can survive about three consecutive years of drought and we haven't had that.  God willing, we won't.  I love the Oklahoma climate that can have a day or two of rain in the rainy season with about 5 days of sunny weather.  The mid-level soil is retaining enough moisture that, with any luck (i.e., average rainfall), the farmers and ranchers will have better results, this year.  We don't have much of a reserve but the farm ponds have filled, at least.   Here is ours:

Besides the main pond, above, we have a runoff pond that tends to stay full, too.  Not the prettiest things but they stayed full during the drought. 

I go back to the eye doctor, tomorrow, and hope to get a full release.  Until the past few days, I've remained on steroid drops and that means I can't wear my contacts.  I get good acuity from my glasses at mid and far ranges but the distance to the computer screen and keyboard just happens to fall into an area prone to glare, making it frustrating to type.  I am sure that has contributed to my lack of posting.  But the plus side is that it has encouraged me to get out and about, more, and heaven knows my spirit and butt benefits from moving. 

Pearly had a severe relapse with her eyes over Christmas and ended up back on prednisone, two types of eye drops and antibiotics.  She also goes back to the specialist, tomorrow, and we hope she'll pronounce her well.  She looks good:

Relapses are sometimes part of the insidious nature of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever but we yet don't know how frequent or severe they will be.  She seemed to have faster results from the medication, this time, but we can tell she is still dragging and not "quite" herself.   We think the medication, itself, may be the underlying cause of her malaise. 

Evelyn has been fighting a severe ear infection and a suspected thyroid deficiency so has also been in and out of the vet's office.  We changed the antibiotics she's on and they sent off samples to see why the last (powerful) antibiotic she was on didn't help.  I do believe her coat is showing significant signs of improvement since she went on the thyroid medication.  Her front half is gorgeous but her hips and tail have lacked an abundance of guard hairs and the undercoat is matty and stiff.   In the past week or so, I've noticed the back hair is filling in, her tail hair is longer, and the coat, overall, is getting back the typical Samoyed silver glisten (like the way snow sparkles in the sun).  It also feels significantly softer.
She is blowing out her coat in patches and hasn't done that in awhile.  Her muzzle and topknot are blowing out hair like a doll loses stuffing.  And her upper thighs are doing the same thing - which is a relief because that is the area where she tends to hang onto hair and get mats.  Interestingly, since she went on the thyroid medication, she has gained a pound and a half.  Go figure.  We suspect she may have been benefiting from the treats Pearly has been getting to entice her to endure all her medical treatment. 

The kids stayed in NYC for Christmas but we skyped Christmas morning so I could watch them open their presents.  It was Grandson's first Christmas and while I didn't get to hold him, this was the next best thing.  Check out this adorable photo taken by my son of Charlie watching Grandma on the monitor!
It was hard to not be there with them, but I was touched at how considerate and attentive my son was in making sure I could see what was going on.  Without a word, he would adjust the monitor, turn it to make sure I could see the action and, just overall, make me feel part of the morning.  He's a good father and son.
I've been doing quite a bit of tromping around out on our property and getting some fun wildlife photos on the trail cams I have set up out there and in the pasture, out back.  The cams can be set for photo shots or video.  I tend to get fox and coyote in the home pasture, but the bobcats, raccoon, deer, possum and armadillos show up on the property.  Here are some of my trophies:

Here is a coyote that was not taken by a trail cam.  I startled when I was crossing a field:
 Grizzled old buck:

I've also got quite a few videos.  Our three legged coyote comes by regularly and I've learned the Fox swings by right after dark.  If I hide in the barn, I can see him through the window.  In one video, an owl swooped down and knocked the fox over!  The fox looked freaked out. 

Here are some recent trail cam video links:
Fox and Coyote in the Pasture
Red Fox in the Pasture
Bobcat on the property

We will be coming up on mating season for a lot of the wild critters in the next few months and I'm anticipating getting baby pictures by late spring - pretty excited about that.  I heard a Great Horned Owl sending out a mating call, yesterday.  They nest very early. 

I've made a lot of progress on my 911 quilt.  It will end up being a queen size with 16 twelve inch blocks (finished) on point.  Yesterday, I finished up the sashing.  Next step is the border and I am still pondering how I want to do it.  My inclination is to make hourglass blocks using the colorful fabrics I used in the stars.  I don't have enough matching neutrals but I might be able to scrap in some that are close that I have on hand.  That would be my preference.    Here are some recent photos - some are the backside:
These are from Carol Doak's Stars book:

 The black block is my favorite:
I am still pondering what I want to do for a border and plan to get on that later, today.
I spent a good part of yesterday working out in the barn and when I came outside, Mr. Wonderful was up in a tree trimming branches.  High up.  I debated chewing him out for doing something so foolish as to climb a tree without someone available to call an ambulance but decided to just keep my mouth shut, pick up fallen branches and keep the phone handy.  I used to think that pointing out that I was worried would convey to him that I loved him.  I have decided that what that mainly conveys is a perceived lack of faith and, further, fosters a grumpy wave of  irritation.  And it is not like anything I say is going to cause him to be more cautious, headstrong man that he is.  With age comes wisdom, I suppose.  Or perhaps I am just conserving my strength for a battle I can win and is worth fighting. 

I heard a lot about how often he used to climb trees as a lad.  I managed to avoid pointing out that he climbed trees FORTY FIVE YEARS AGO.  I expect that he will be hobbling around today and tomorrow, wondering why in the world he feels so sore.  But he is a grownup and can make his own decisions about how to abuse himself. 

The good news is that he returned to earth in one piece and the tree looks tons better.  But even so, that is is one ugly tree:
And that is the AFTER picture!!  You will have to trust me when I tell you that it looks a lot better.

I'm participating in the wildbird survey and need to go check the birdcam before I send in my results.  I make my own suet and they seem to like it.  I also moved the pasture trail cam to behind the barn and haven't yet checked it, today, so I'm off to do that, right now.

I hope all of you had a lovely Christmas and that 2012 is kind.

Happy Quilting, Penny, Evelyn and Pearl


BilboWaggins said...

Glad to hear you are feeling better, hope your vet can get E & P sorted out - nothing worse than when our babies aren't 'right'.

Florida Farm Girl said...

I'm so glad to hear you and Pearlie are doing better. Let's hope that you'll be released and Pearlie will be right behind you.

Great to hear from you. Happy New Year~

Oh, I know all about picking battles you can win. OY!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update. I hope everyone recovers!